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Archive for September 1st, 2010

 Copyright © 2010 by James Clark

       In the films of her later career, Catherine Breillat introduces us to the cold steel of a status quo superficially noble and obsessively cheap. She brings into view a world history rigged to destroy advances beyond that totalitarian zeal. As thus situated, her contrarian protagonists come to us as noir investigators perhaps permanently between jobs.

    But there is a production—based on, among other things, a pre-scenario story of hers—from the outset of her directorial work that manages not to be devastated by perversities, and so stands not simply as her only bona fide comedy but a mainstay of avuncular perspective for tempering subsequent forays into apoplexy-inducing scandal. As no mean marshal of multiple sagas, Breillat would not stand pat with her own visceral discoveries, but instead recognize that being a loner would place her in a company of loners. Prior to making fully discursive marks, as an actress in Bernardo Bertolucci’s Last Tango in Paris (1972), her character bore the electrifying name, “Mouchette,” recalling a loner derived from filmmaker Robert Bresson, whose inventions traced to two loner highlights, Cocteau’s La Belle et la Bête and Robert Aldrich and A.I. Bezzerides’ Kiss Me Deadly. (more…)

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